Joanne Davies Complementary Therapies
On-site 'Wellness at Work'
It is in the interest of every company to reduce the days lost due to sickness and improve staff productivity. Reflexology in the work place can help achieve this.
According to the Health and Safety Executive stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 15.4 million days lost due to work-related ill health in the UK in 2017/18. On average, each person suffering with stress, depression or anxiety took around 25.8 days off work. This accounts for 44% of total working days lost per year due to ill health.
Effects Of Stress
Hans Selye established there to be two types of stress; 'eustress' and 'distress'.
Eustress is a positive form of stress that can be described as exciting. Eustress motivates us, keeps us focused and gives us energy which can improve our performance. It is intended to be a short term response to an immediate problem or challenge. Eustress should subside shortly after the 'problem' has been removed.
In contrast, distress is quite the opposite, it is a negative form of stress that is perceived to be outside of our coping abilities. It is bad for our health, causes anxiety and decreases our performance.
Stress is progressive. If untreated we can start to feel overwhelmed by the slightest challenge. We can become exhausted and susceptible to illness. There are many physical and psychological responses to stress on the body. The physical response to stress affects all of the systems in the body, for example;
- Digestive system – stress can cause constipation, diarrhoea, IBS, indigestion, heart burn and stomach ulcers
- Integumentary system – stress can cause rashes and skin irritations
- Cardiovascular system – stress can cause heart problems and high blood pressure
- Respiratory system – stress can cause hyperventilation
- Nervous system – stress can cause pins and needles, panic attacks, fatigue, an inability to concentrate and memory problems
- Reproductive system – stress can cause menstrual changes, loss of libido and sexual problems
- Urinary system – long term stress can cause bladder incontinence
- Lymphatic and immune system – stress can reduce white blood cells lowering protection against illness and disease
- Muscular system – stress can cause tension in muscles resulting in aches and pains
- Skeletal system – similarly tension can cause skeletal aches and pains
- Endocrine system – arguably the most affected system in the body. The hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal link produces the heightened reactions throughout the body.
In addition to the physical response to stress, there are many psychological responses, namely feeling anxious, depressed, unable to concentrate or make simple decisions, becoming forgetful and easily distracted. People suffering with stress can become emotional, experience mood swings, feel angry and irritable. They can become overly sensitive to criticism and can be defensive. When these problems affect your workforce, they affect their motivation and efficiency. It is therefore imperative to look at ways to reduce stress levels.
Benefits of Reflexology
The Association of Reflexologists explain that Reflexology is effective at bringing down anxiety levels and reducing the stress response in a natural and healthy way. Studies have shown on-site Reflexology has not only reduced the numbers of sick days lost due to stress but also increased staff wellbeing and motivation, staff satisfaction, feelings of support and improved company loyalty.
There are many articles and research papers on the effects of reflexology.